Oh my word, so much to say and so little time to say it in. Today was a crazy P-day. We bought Dirndls today!! woohoo! Pictures to come :)
I'm so excited to hear that Rhiannon has arrived!!! Congrats Charles and Jessie, she's beautiful!
So first off, Ritter Sport is having their 100th anniversary this year. This means that there are huge ads for Ritter Sport in the Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station), which we walk through nearly every day. Man it has been tough.
This past Sunday in Church was an interesting one. There was a woman there named Precious, who is from Zimbabwe and is working as an au pair here in Germany. Since she speaks very little German, I translated Relief Society for her. Then, as we were going from Relief Society to Sunday School (church here is backwards from how it normally is in the States) another unfamiliar woman walked in the door. Her name is Susanna and she is an American soldier on leave from Afghanistan for two weeks. She doesn't speak German, so I translated Sunday School and Sacrament meeting for her. Needless to say, my translating brain was dead by the end of church. I'm so glad Precious and Susanna found us though. They both are relatively new converts and I know that when you're in a new place it can be hard to find church and/or go all by yourself. I'm just grateful my German is good enough that I can roughly translate for them!
As Elder Stewart was saying in his last e-mail, one of my favorite things to do on my mission is to tell the story of the First Vision to investigators. It has only been since I've really had to learn the words and recite them to others that I have gained a testimony that Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ that day. And really, once I knew that, everything else fell into place.
As we were teaching one of the new converts the other day, I had a realization. We asked her the question "Why has God commanded us to love other people and to show it?" (Sorry for the awkward phrasing, it made more sense in German). As she considered her answer, I suddenly had a thought. And it was this---God loves everyone. We are supposed to become like God. Therefore, it is essential that we love everyone around us because it helps us to become more like God. The commandment to love others is not just another commandment. It is absolutely essential to our eternal progression. We have to show and tell others of our love for them because as we do this, we become instruments in the hands of the Lord for those around us to feel His love. We can be the means through which Heavenly Father's children can feel of his love. Sometimes it's not easy to love others, but luckily God can help us with that (Moroni 7:48).
The other day as we were walking down the street some men who were standing on the side walk called after us "Tatsächliche Schönheit!" (Good Looking!) yup, we are, thanks.
Here's another funny story that requires a little bit of background---Sister Pingree and I serve in the same ward as our Zone Leaders, Elder Seidl and Elder Clark. We have taken to hiding little notes and baked goods in their backpacks as little tokens of our appreciation. So the other day Elder Clark asked us "What do Sisters eat?" We replied "Uhhh, normal food? Soup, salad, sandwiches, stuff like that" Then Elder Seidl said "Really? You eat sandwiches?" Apparently the Elders didn't think that Sisters are normal people too. So the funny part is that the other day when I got home and looked in my backpack, there were some paper bags with Disney Princesses printed on them and a note in Elder Seidl's handwriting that said "For your sandwiches" That alone made my day.
Ich bin so dankbar für die Zeit, die ich habe, jeden Tag in den Schriften zu lesen. Ich habe so viel gelernt und ich weiß, dass ich viel mehr lernen muss! Wenn ich mich wirklich auf den Worten Gottes konzentieren, spüre ich den Geist mehr in meinem Leben. Ich ermahne euch, die Schriften jeden Tag zu lesen!
(I am so thankful for the time I have every day to read the scriptures. I have learned so much and have much more to learn. When I concentrate on the word of God I really feel the Spirit in my life. I encourage you to read the scriptures every day!)
p.s. I am sorry for the scattered nature of this e-mail. I sit down to write and my brain goes fifty different directions at once.